Kargador at Dawn

Kargador at Dawn
Work in the Vineyard

Tuesday, December 12, 2017

Searching for the Bethlehem in the Soul


Almost everything about Christmas, from its deep real meaning to the piety and even (ironically) the commercialism we surround it with, invites us to be that third child.

But that’s not easy. To be an adult is precisely to be experienced, complex, wounded. To be an adult is to have lost one’s innocence. None of us, unless we die very young, carries the dignity of our person and of our baptism unstained through life.
We fall, we compromise, we sin, we get hurt, we hurt others, and mostly we grow ever more pathologically complex, with layer after layer of emotional and intellectual complexity separating us from the little child who once waited for Christmas in innocence and joyful anticipation. And that can be painful.

Sometimes, if we’re sensitive, the innocence of children can be like the stab of knife to the soul, making us feel as if we’ve fallen from ourselves. But, in the end, that’s an unhealthy over-idealization. We’re not meant to be children forever and innocence will always be lost.

Sometimes, more positively, we get to experience our old innocence and youthful wonder vicariously in the eyes of our own children, in their joyful anticipation and gleeful celebration of Christmas. Their belief in Santa and the wonder in their eyes as they look at the baby-Jesus in the crib help us find a certain softness inside again; not at the same place where we once felt things when we were children and still believed in Santa (because that would only bring the painful stab of nostalgia) but at a new place, a place beyond where we defined ourselves as grown-up (because that’s the place where wisdom is born).
That’s also the place where Jesus is born. That’s Bethlehem in the soul.

Saturday, December 09, 2017

Marakesh Declaration

Marrakesh Declaration
This position has historic roots dating to the time of Prophet Mohammed and the Medina Charter. Today’s Declaration was issued at a time of heightened social hostility fueled by violent extremism, widespread Islamophobia and the denial of rights, sometimes justified by misrepresentations of Islamic teachings.
The conference was organized by the Moroccan Ministry of Religious Eyndowments and Islamic Affairs and the Forum for Promoting Peace in Muslim Societies based in Abu Dhabi. His Eminence Shaykh Abdullah bin Bayyah, the President of the Forum for Promoting Peace and Co-Moderator of Religions for Peace (RfP), offered the keynote address that set the framework for deliberation among the Islamic leaders. Fifty senior leaders from the world’s diverse religious traditions other than Islam were invited as observers of the Islamic deliberations.

A summary of the Marrakesh Declaration includes:

— “The objectives of the Charter of Medina provide a suitable framework for national constitutions in countries with Muslim majorities, and are in harmony with the United Nations Charter and related documents, such as the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.”

— “Affirm[s] that it is impermissible to employ religion for the purpose of detracting from the rights of religious minorities in Muslim countries.”

— “Call[s] upon representatives of the various religions, sects and denominations to confront all forms of religious bigotry, vilification and denigration of what people hold sacred, as well as all words that promote hatred and racism.”

The fifty religious leaders other than Muslims:
 — Expressed their gratitude to the Islamic leaders for their unflinching courage and devotion to their tradition and for welcoming non-Muslims among them as observers;

— Affirmed values shared with the Islamic leaders;

— Asked forgiveness for past and current injuries for which their communities are complicit;

— Shared particular concerns over violence in the name of religion, limitations of citizenship, restrictions on freedom of religion or belief, and xenophobia, especially Islamophobia;

— Committed to follow-up work in solidarity with Muslim brothers and sisters to build a culture of peace; and,

— Respectfully expressed the hope that this convening of Islamic leaders will be continued by future regional conferences.

Every attack, every hate crime, every insult, every humiliation is amplified in the media and sends out a polarizing wave, fueling the rise in hostility. Only religious communities cooperating —standing shoulder-to-shoulder in solidarity — can transform this vicious cycle into a virtuous one, in which the good deeds of each community call out to and reinforce the good deeds of the others.RfP is committed to supporting all religious communities in collaborative efforts to build a virtuous cycle for Peace.

Brian Grim Meets Shaykh bin Bayyah
 Brian Grim, president of the Religious Freedom & Business Foundation, met last night after the adoption of the Declaration, with Shaykh Abdullah bin Bayyah, together with other religious leaders. Grim briefed the Shaykh on the potential role of business in fostering interfaith understanding and peace.

Specifically, Grim told about the Foundation’s first global forum on business, interfaith understanding and peace on April 29, 2015, in São Paulo, Brazil’s financial capital. Among the sponsors was Latin America’s oldest mosque, Mesquita Brasil, where the Global Forum was held. The forum brought some 700 leaders together for a gala celebration where Muslims, Jews and Christians dined side-by-side to commemorate its status as a leader in religious freedoms. The theme was “Brazil a voice to the world.” The event is the first of a series to bolster the role of business in supporting religious freedom.

Sheikh Abdel Hammed Metwally, religious leader of Mesquita Brasil, highlighted the positive example of interfaith understanding and peace in Brazil. “This will be the first of many meetings”, he said, and “given the importance of the subject we want to share it with more people and show the world how Brazil stands out in leading position, by tolerating and peacefully accommodate the most diverse creeds. “

Nasser Fares, the lay president of Mesquita Brasil considered it an honor to welcome such an eclectic group in a celebration, highlighting Brazil as an example to other nations. Ricardo Cerqueira Leite, president of the Association for Religious Freedom and Business (ALRN) also noted that Brazil is ahead of many countries to express support and respect for peaceful religious diversity. “We are essentially a nation with natural vocation to deal with religious differences,” he said, “and to conduct ourselves in ways that highlight these values as an example to the world.”

During the meeting withShaykh Abdullah bin Bayyah, Grim also invited him to help seek out nominees for the Global Business & Interfaith Peace Awards which will recognize business leaders – current or past CEOs – who have demonstrated leadership in championing interfaith understanding and peace.

The Awards will be presented on September 6, 2016, at the start of the Paralympic Games in Rio de Janeiro, where award recipients will have the opportunity to present their commitment to interfaith understanding and peace while contributing to the UN Sustainable Development Goal 16. The Awards are co-sponsored by the Religious Freedom & Business Foundation (RFBF), its Brazilian affiliate, the Associação pela Liberdade Religiosa e Negócios (ALRN), and the United Nations Global Compact Business for Peace (B4P) platform.

Shaykh bin Bayyah will receive the Newseum’s first religious freedom award this April.

Monday, December 04, 2017

Two Philosophers in my Youth....

Two Philosophers of my Youth….

There are two great contemporary philosophers that have touched me deeply in my youth. These two philosophers have shaped and formed me…

The first is Albert Camus and   Camus’ major works that have touched me are the following: L’Etranger; the Plague; The Myth of Sisyphus; the Fall and the Rebel.

The 2nd is Jean Paul Sartre. I continue to enjoy and use, often, his Trilogy – The Age of Reason; Iron in the Soul; and Reprieve…  Yes, all of us experience the “iron in the soul”. And often, we simply ask for “reprieve” akin to a man with a death sentence while waiting for the execution… Only when we face this iron in the soul squarely… only when we are able to gather the pieces of our brokenness that we and are able to begin anew that we arrive at  the real “age of Reason”.

Camus and Sartre filled the early narratives of my youth in the early 70’s while I was searching for meaning and relevance beyond the traditional faith-narratives.

Later on as  I age… I began to realize what yet another author - Daniel H. Pink, in his book “A Whole New Mind,” who writes:

We are our stories. We compress years of experience, thought and emotion into a few compact narratives that we convey to others and tell to ourselves. That has always been true. But narrative has become more prevalent, and perhaps more urgent, in a time of abundance, when many of us are freer to seek a deeper understanding of ourselves and our purpose.”

Yes, we are our stories….!

Jun Mercado, OMI
December 5. 2017

Saturday, December 02, 2017

1st Sunday of Advent (B)

Short Reflection for the 1st Sunday of Advent (B)
Readings: Isaiah 63: 16-17. 19. 64: 2-7; 1 Corinthians 1: 3-9; Mark 13: 33-37
Selected Gospel Passage: “Be watchful! Be alert! You do not know when the time will come. And I say to you: WATCH!” (Mk. 13: 33 & 37)
Reflection: Take heed… Jesus comes in moments and at events we least expect. Vigilance is NOT doing anything or looking out at the sky but DOING our task and role well and conscientiously. Cuidate! www.badaliyya.blogspot.com
ADVENT is the beginning of a new Liturgical Year B. Advent a season of joyful expectation for the coming of the Lord celebrated at Christmas. Three characteristics should mark our Advent celebration:
1) “Make straight our crooked ways”;
2) “Allow ourselves to be taught by God”; and
3) Do Good to other and Do NO harm both to neighbors and environment.
1st step: Write the text or Dhikr (the Arabic word for REMEMBRANCE) in your heart.
2nd step: Let the text remain always in on your lips and mind - RECITING the text silently as often as possible...
3rd step: Be attentive to the disclosure of the meaning/s of the text in your life.

Never Grow Weary


This sounds so simple and yet it cuts to the heart of many of our moral struggles. We give up too soon, give in too soon, and don’t carry our solitude to its highest level. We simply don’t carry tension long enough.

All of us experience tension in our lives: in our families, in our friendships, in our places of work, in our churches, in our communities, and within our conversations around other people, politics, and current events.

Being good-hearted people, we carry that tension with patience, respect, graciousness, and forbearance – for a while!  Then, at a certain point we feel ourselves stretched to the limit, grow weary of doing what is right, feel something snap inside of us, and hear some inner-voice say: Enough! I’ve put up with this too long! I won’t tolerate this anymore!
We let go of patience, respect, graciousness, and forbearance, either by venting and giving back in kind, or simply by fleeing the situation with an attitude of good riddance. Either way, we refuse to carry the tension any longer.

At that exact point, when we have to choose between giving up or holding on, carrying tension or letting it go, is a crucial moral site, one that determines character: Big-heartedness, nobility of character, deep maturity, and spiritual sanctity often manifest themselves around these questions: How much tension can we carry? How great is our patience and forbearance? How much can we put up with?

Of course this comes with a caveat: Carrying tension does not mean carrying abuse. Those of noble character and sanctity of soul challenge abuse rather than enable it through well-intentioned acquiescence. Sometimes, in the name of virtue and loyalty, we are encouraged to absorb abuse, but that is antithetical to what Jesus did. He loved, challenged, and absorbed tension in a way that took away the sins of the world. We know now, thanks to long bitter experience, that no matter how noble our intention, when we absorb abuse as opposed to challenging it, we don’t take away the sin, we enable it.

All of this will not be easy. It’s the way of long loneliness, with many temptations to let go and slip away. If you persevere and never grown weary of doing what is right, at your funeral, those who knew you will be blessed and grateful that you continued to believe in them even when for a time they had stopped believing in themselves.

Wednesday, November 22, 2017

Thinking Small


Not much in our world today helps us to believe that. Most everything urges us to think big and to be careless about small things. The impression is given us that what is private in our lives is little and unimportant. Likewise what is played out on the smaller stage of life – in the more domestic areas of family, marriage, and our exchanges with our neighbours and colleagues – is also deemed to be of little consequence.

The big stage is what is important. What mark have you left in the world? What have you achieved on the bigger stage? What has been your involvement in the great causes? Nobody cares about your little life!  Private morality, private grudges, the little insults that we hand out, our many angers and resentments, the small infidelities within our sexual lives, the many little acts of selfishness, and, conversely, the small acts of sacrifice and selflessness that we do and the little compliments that we hand out, these are not valued much in our culture.

I remember a young man, very dedicated to social causes, once asking me: “Do you really think that God gives a damn whether or not you say your morning prayers, or whether or not you hold some small grudge, or whether or not you are always polite to your colleagues, or whether or not you are always chaste sexually? That’s petty, small, private stuff that deflects attention off of the bigger moral issues.”

I believe that God does care a great deal. We tend to forget quickly who won such or such an award, or who starred in such and such a movie or play. But we remember, and remember vividly, with all the healing and grace it brought, who was nice to us all those years ago on the playground at school. We remember who encouraged us when we felt insecure. Conversely, we also remember vividly, with all the scars it brought, who laughed at us on the playground, made fun of our clothes, or called us stupid.

Falls and winters come and go, springs and summers come and go.  Sometimes the only thing we can remember from a given year is some small mustard seed, of cruelty or kindness.

To read more click here or copy this address into your browser http://ronrolheiser.com/thinking-small/#.WhRDmUtrxE4

34th Sunday - The Solemnity of Christ the King

Short Reflection on the Solemnity of Christ the King (A)

Readings: Ezekiel 14: 11-12; 15-17; 1 Corinthians 15: 20-26; Matthew 25: 31-46

Gospel Passage: “Lord, when did we see you hungry and fee you, or thirsty and give you drink? And when did we see you stranger and welcome you or naked and clothe you? And when did we see you sick or in prison and visit you? And the king will say to them in reply, 'Amen, I say to you, whatever you did for one of these least brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.'” (Matthew 25: 37-40)

Meditation: In the end, the real test of discipleship is ‘believing and attending to the needs of the people in need, that is, caring for and ministering to people, especially the least of our brothers and sisters. The real fellowship at the table of the Lord is when we are able to break bread with the poor. The true image of Christ the King is NOT Jesus with Crown and scepter and sitting on his throne! That is the Constantinian King! The true image of Christ the King is Jesus with a crown of thorns before Pilate or Jesus Crucified with INRI label – the sentence for his claim!www.badaliyya.blogspot.com

Dhikr is an Arabic word which means REMEMBRANCE.
1st step: Write the text in your heart.
2nd step: Let the text remain always in on your lips and mind - RECITING the text silently as often as possible...
3rd step: Be attentive to the disclosure of the meaning/s of the text in your life.

The Solemnity of Christ the King

The Solemnity of Christ the King

A more biblical representation of Christ the King..! He is NO earthly king or an Emperor with power and wealth...!

He got no throne but the Cross; no scepter but a reed; and no crown but a crown of thorns!

His authority flows from that love he has for all creation that no man has... to lay down his life for his friends... and life to the full. And he calls as his friends!

His kingship is revealed in the washing of the feet of his disciples.. He who is called master and teacher washes the feet of his disciples so also his followers should wash each order's feet in remembrance of him and his deeds!

Saturday, November 18, 2017

Reflections on Death


And this denial of death stems too from the fact that, in the end, we don’t die, don’t become extinct, but move on to deeper life. At some level, we already know that, sense it, feel it, and live life in the face of it. To want to think about death can be as much a sign of depression or illness as of depth. Pushing away thoughts of death is normally a sign of health.
But how to think about death? Where is that thin line between contemplating the mystery of death and falling into morbidity, anxiety, and false guilt about being alive and healthy?

Honest prayer can help us walk that tightrope and honest prayer is what we do when we can bring ourselves naked before God, unprotected by what we do, by what we own, by what we have achieved, and by anything else we have to fend off loneliness, fear, and death. In honest prayer we can be deep without being morbid.

We can also be helped in this by the giants of our faith who have stared death in the eye and have tried to share with us what that feels like. For one perspective, I recommend Lewis’ book, The Great Divorce, which is one of the finest and most readable treatises ever written on Christian death and the afterlife. He comes at it as an Anglican, but is equally sympathetic to both the Protestant and the Roman Catholic traditions. He stresses the continuity between this life and the next and sets this into a wonderful theology of God, grace, and the communion of saints.

Death is a journey into the unknown, the ineffable, the unimaginable, the unspeakable – unspeakable loneliness, ineffable embrace, unimaginable joy.

Thursday, November 16, 2017

Cataclysms of the Heart


Jesus had a cosmic image for this. In the Gospels, he talks about how the world, as we experience it, will someday end: “The sun will be darkened, the moon will not give forth its light, stars will fall from heaven, and the powers of heaven will be shaken.”

When Jesus says this, he is not talking as much about cosmic cataclysms as of cataclysms of the heart. Sometimes our inner world is shaken, turned upside down; it gets dark in the middle of the day, there’s an earthquake in the heart, and we experience, in effect, the end of the world as we’ve known it.

But Jesus assures us that in this upheaval, one thing remains the same: the word of God, God’s promise of fidelity. That doesn’t get turned upside down and, in our disillusionment, we are given a chance to see what really is of substance, permanent, and worthy of our lives. Thus, ideally at least, when our trusted world is turned upside down we are given the chance to grow, to become less selfish, and to see reality more clearly.

What cataclysms of the heart do is to take away everything that feels like solid earth so that we end up in a free-fall, unable to grab on to anything that once supported us. But, in falling, we also get closer to bedrock, to God, to reality, to truth, to each other, beyond illusions, beyond selfishness, and beyond manipulative love masquerading as something else.

Clarity eyesight comes after disillusionment, purity of heart comes after a certain kind of heartache, and real love comes after the honeymoon.

Wednesday, November 15, 2017

33rd Sunday in Ordinary Time (A)

Readings: Proverbs 31: 10-13, 19-20, 30-31; 1 Thessalonians 5: 1-6; Matthew 25: 14-30

Selected Passage: “For to everyone who has, more will be given and he will grow rich; but from the one who has not, even what he has will be taken away.” (Matthew 25: 29)

Meditation: Every gift we receive from God has corresponding responsibility. It must bear fruit in plenty so that others may also share in the blessing.  Each one receives gives according to the measure one is capable.  We become responsible and accountable for that gift else we become half-hearted servants.  . The Parable of the Talents is a warning to those who do not produce anything. It is a kind of stripping (recalling) of anything that is left in an unproductive person.

Pope Francis reminds us that “only one whose gaze is fixed on that which is truly essential can renew his yes to the gift received.” Cf. www.badaliyya.blogspot.com


Dhikr is an Arabic word which means REMEMBRANCE.
1st step: Write the text in your heart.
2nd step: Let the text remain always in on your lips and mind - RECITING the text silently as often as possible...
3rd step:  Be attentive to the disclosure of the meaning/s of the text in your life.